I’ve written a lot over the years about the life insurance underwriting of skin cancer. It’s been a mixed bag of good news and bad news depending on whose study life insurance underwriters wanted to use as their mortality test that month, but overall great strides have been made.
My blog is littered with the ups and downs of how studies and underwriters blow with the wind on the subject of basal cell carcinoma. The one constant is that pretty much across the board life insurance companies aren’t going to hold one instance of basal cell carcinoma against you. With almost any company you can still get their best rate class.
I have an attorney client who came to me at the height of the multiple basal cell panic and, at that time, the best we were able to do was get him a standard rate. Understand a couple of things. He didn’t just have two, or three or four instances of basal cell. At the time we went out for quotes he had between 10 and 15 instances of basal cell carcinoma over the previous 5 years. Because he had just started working as an attorney and budget was tight we gave him the maximum insurance he needed for his family but kept it to a 10 year term for cost.
That was a little over four years ago and when we talked on his most recent annual review he said he would like to try to get a longer term policy. I updated his medical information which included a lot more instances of basal cell. He could only guess how many in the last 10 years, but promised he would check with his doctor. He did mention that since the last time he had been diagnosed as having nevoid basal cell syndrome, according to him not a horribly rare condition where your regular trips to the dermatologist become, not a matter of whether any cancer will be removed, but how many. An excerpt from the email I sent out to underwriters asking for quotes read, “Over past 11 years has had about 20-30 basal cell carcinomas removed. 15 in past 5 years. All have been caught early. No squamous cell or melanoma. Has Nevoid basal cell syndrome. Good family history. Sees dermatologist every 3 months.”
We were very pleasantly surprised to see that the tides had shifted again and we were able to get him preferred rates and the 30 year term insurance he wanted. It is through the work of the medical community and organizations devoted to getting helpful and correct information out about nevoid basal cell syndrome that at least a few underwriters have grasped the fact that while the syndrome might overwhelm their underwriting senses, the mortality risk was tolerable.
When you put that kind of underwriting breakthrough together with the leaps we’ve had in underwriting melanoma, it’s like the fog is beginning to lift and the landscape is becoming clearer. There is good news on the skin cancer life insurance underwriting horizon.
Bottom line. Like so many other health issues these strides and leaps in underwriting are coming as the medical community becomes better and better at finding disease early which always leads to easier treatment and better outcomes. If you have any questions or believe that you may not have been treated fairly on skin cancer underwriting, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.